Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Vatican: ‘Other Christian churches are wounded’

Cranmer had intended to post today on Iain Duncan Smith’s thoughts on ‘social justice’, and his identification of the causes of our broken society - family breakdown, severe indebtedness, addiction, educational failure and unemployment. His Grace, however, finds himself hijacked by theological terrorism. It transpires that His Holiness has not only been busy reviving Latin, restoring the Tridentine Rite, and singling out the Jews for evangelisation, but he is also winding back the clock to an assertion of Protestant heresy.

In 2000, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a document entitled Dominus Iesus which stated unequivocally that the Church of England ‘is not a church in the proper sense’. One might think, as Pope, that the man might be inclined to adopt a more conciliatory tone (as he is manifestly doing with Islam, and related issues like the admission of Turkey into the European Union), but no: under Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican is reiterating his statements of seven years ago, and insisting that Christian denominations outside Roman Catholicism are ‘not full churches of Jesus Christ’.

His Holiness is prepared to accept Orthodox churches as true churches, but suffering from a ‘wound’ (Lat. defectus) since they do not recognise papal primacy (forget the minor quibble of the filioque). But the ‘wound is still more profound’ in Protestant denominations. The document states: ‘Despite the fact that (Dominus Iesus) created no little distress…it is nevertheless difficult to see how the title of “Church” could possibly be attributed to them.’

This is a significant development. In 2000, the Church of England was simply not a proper church; now it is not a church at all. Unsurprisingly, Protestant leaders all over Europe find such statements ‘offensive’, and some have even observed that they 'will hurt inter-denominational dialogue’.

No kidding.

The document is about as conducive to good ecumenical relations as the declarations of the Rev Dr Ian Paisley that Rome is the Whore of Babylon and the Pope is the Antichrist. It refers to ‘ecclesial communities originating from the Reformation’ as containing ‘many elements of sanctification and truth’, but asserts that only Catholicism possesses all the elements to be Christ's Church fully. This is not bigotry, of course: it cannot be, because it is the truth. And this truth is made more palatable to heretics by the assurance that Rome ‘is not backtracking on ecumenical commitment’.

Indeed, not: it is simply restating its assertion that ecumenism is a one-way path to Rome. The only negotiations to be had are those that have a fore-ordained outcome on every article of faith and every teaching of Rome. For Protestants to engage in ecumenical dialogue is rather like attending a theological Alcoholics Anonymous: the first requirement is a public admission that you have a problem - a ‘wound’ (or ‘profound wound’) - and thereafter the path to healing, wholeness, and salvation becomes somewhat easier...

And what says the Church of England in response?

Oh, Cranmer forgot. The Archbishop of Canterbury is away on 'study leave'. While Archbishop Carey denounced Dominus Iesus as 'unacceptable', the official spokesman for Archbishop Williams says: 'This is a serious document, teaching on important ecclesiological matters and of significance to the churches' commitment to the full, visible unity to the one church of Jesus Christ.'

Well that alright then.

Protestant England has become an historical curiosity, surrounded by the competing seas of Islam and Roman Catholicism, about to be engulfed by one or both.

29 Comments:

Anonymous bob said...

I find it amusing that you should be outraged. It`s been the position of the Catholic Church for the past 500 years that Protestantism is wrong, and vice versa. I see no reason why this should come as any great shock. Ecumenism with the Anglicanism has been dead since Anglicanism broke with the Tradition of the Church and ordained women. I always find it amusing that Anglicans are willing to blame ecumenical failure on Catholicism, but never think of considering that it may have had something to do with them. The fact that you`re so upset about this is because, no doubt, you`re wholly convinced that Protestantism is correct. However, for a Catholic to believe the same about Catholicism seems, in your mind, to amount to bigotry.

11 July 2007 at 08:48  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Bob,

His Grace is fully aware that Rome's motto is Semper Eadem, and that therefore nothing has changed because it cannot. However, he observes a wonderful hermeneutic spiral in your reasoning.

One hears much talk from the Church of England that, in an age of ecumenism, respect and mutual toleration, it does not actualy matter to which denomination one belongs; the important factor is that one is 'Christian'.

Indeed, His Grace is seemingly accused of 'bigotry' if ever he dare suggest otherwise: it is considered offensive, narrow-minded, or a indication of being ill-educated, intolerant, or spiritually deficient. He is obsessed with fighting the irrelevant battles of yesteryear. Yet when Rome reiterates its dogma, no matter of how many centuries past, it should come as no surprise.

His Grace knows of no-one in the Church of England leadership (and certainly not any archbishop) who would articulate in an official publication that the Church of Rome is not a church.

11 July 2007 at 10:03  
Anonymous Voyager said...

You are wavering again Your Grace...after such a good start too !

You were a Reformer and only let yourself down by that recantation before the acolytes of Bloody Mary and the devildoms of Spain to quote Tennyson's Sir Richard Grenville.....but you did redeem yourself at the very end.

Why do I remind you of your incarnate experience ? Simply because you expect a leopard to change its spots. I was always bemused by the flurry of activity as Anglicans trotted off to Canossa....a lovely German expression you must have heard... Der Gang nach Canossa - 1077 wasn't it ?

Well it is obvious Rome would happily engage in merger acquiring the Anglican church in Nigeria and a few others - maybe even recover some farmland and other properties in England.....but to accept the Anglican bishops as equals - noone in his wildest dreams believed that.

As for the Protestant Churches not being real churches - in many cases looking around I must concur - I do not consider ECUSA a proper Church - it is heathen. I can see why Rome wants to batten down the hatches and keep the pestilence that has eaten away at Protestantism away from The Vatican.

The absence of Rowan W is illuminating - no doubt he will be stepping down in 2008 and let Sentamu take over. At least York has some opinions and some character rather than being a university lecturer hosting seminars like a cloistered Mr Bean.

Blair goes...and so we should hope will his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury...a man who destroyed any credibility Anglicanism might have and whose appointment from Wales was a travesty.

I do not blame the Pope for sticking with his own, and at least we know that Protestant Evangelicals are thriving globally and that the Church of England is pitiful at evangelism which is why it has rotted from within.

So Rome is being true to herself which has much to commend it. Martin Luther did not need sanctification of The Pope, he did not even need the blessing of The Emperor, but his name is more widely known than 99% of Popes and his impact enormous.

I respect Pope Benedict. I did not want to be joined into his Church. Protestantism is valid just as being a Gallilean was valid for the outsider who wanted to steer Judaism back to God and away from the idolatry of Rome

11 July 2007 at 10:53  
Blogger botogol said...

A great post, your grace. I think you are quite right to highlight it.

Do you think that the Church of England is *really* Protestant? After all, it wasn't founded as a result of theological differences, was it? It seems to me the differences that exisit now have evolved over time, rather than being part of the raison d'etre of the CofE. Perhaps it isn't really a 'proper' church at all. More of an Englisg Shinto...

11 July 2007 at 10:58  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Once a waverer...

11 July 2007 at 11:01  
Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Perhaps Your Grace would like to be reminded that in Roman Catholic eyes you are the source of the problem, for you are said to have presided over a breakdown in the Apostolic Succession of the Church of England during the reign of Edward VI. It is on this basis that Rome does not accept the C of E as a church, but does accept the Orthodox, who have a proper Apostolic Succession. Maybe Your Grace would like to clarify whether the succession was in fact broken, whether bishops were appointed without proper consecration. (Improper ordination of priests centuries ago is irrelevant as the succession is not carried on through them.)

Of course Your Grace may agree with me that the true Apostolic Succession is not a matter of laying on of hands but of the call and gifting of God (and that the evidence for papal succession from St Peter is very weak), but we can hardly expect the Church of Rome to change its ancient doctrine to agree with us.

So if the C of E is ever to be reconciled with Rome, and unless we can prove that its Apostolic Succession is in fact no more broken than that of the Pope himself (a matter of which you have a now unrivalled knowledge), there might be a need for some kind of nominal ceremony of conditional re-consecration of Anglican bishops. This would probably be acceptable in principle as long as Catholic bishops are prepared to participate reciprocally.

11 July 2007 at 12:10  
Anonymous bob said...

I perhaps have been at fault in considering you, if not a bigot, then at least heavily biased against Catholicism. It was wrong of me to do so. I have been, perhaps, more annoyed with the method of your delivery than anything else, and it has lead me to those erroneous assumptions.

I think that for any sort of ecumenical or inter-religious dialogue to exist there has to be an honesty about what it is we believe and why it is we believe it. I think that that is what Pope Benedict has done. I don`t think there`s any point in avoiding the difficult issues and pretending they don`t exist, which, to me at least, has been the context for so much ecumenical dialogue.

I think it`s healthier, at the end of the day, to know where we all stand.

11 July 2007 at 12:18  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Peter you question the veracity of the Popes Apostolic succession. One of the complaints Protestantism has against the RCC is to assert that it lost it’s way from the time of Constantine (Approx) and that the Church Fathers are the true guides as to how Christianity should develop. In this light I offer the guidance of some of the Church Fathers for your consideration on the Apostolic Succession. It seems it was good enough for them.

Tatian the Syrian:
"Simon Cephas answered and said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah: flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee also, that you are Cephas, and on this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it" (The Diatesseron 23 [A.D. 170]).

Tertullian
"Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ [Matt. 16:18] with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’ [Matt. 16:19]?" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 22 [A.D. 200]).

"[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter? Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys" (Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]).

The Letter of Clement to James
"Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter" (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]).

The Clementine Homilies
"[Simon Peter said to Simon Magus in Rome:] ‘For you now stand in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church’ [Matt. 16:18]" (Clementine Homilies 17:19 [A.D. 221]).

Origen
"Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? ‘Oh you of little faith,’ he says, ‘why do you doubt?’ [Matt. 14:31]" (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]).


Firmilian
"But what is his error . . . who does not remain on the foundation of the one Church which was founded upon the rock by Christ [Matt. 16:18], can be learned from this, which Christ said to Peter alone: ‘Whatever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]" (collected in Cyprian’s Letters 74[75]:16 [A.D. 253]).

Ephraim the Syrian
"[Jesus said:] ‘Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples’" (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).

Optatus
"You cannot deny that you are aware that in the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head—that is why he is also called Cephas [‘Rock’]—of all the apostles; the one chair in which unity is maintained by all" (The Schism of the Donatists 2:2 [A.D. 367]).

Ambrose of Milan
"[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church. . . . ’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).

"It is to Peter that he says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18]. Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church is, no death is there, but life eternal" (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David 40:30 [A.D. 389]).


Jerome
"‘But,’ you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division" (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).

"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).

Augustine
"If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them [the bishops of Rome] from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it.’ Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement. ... In this order of succession a Donatist bishop is not to be found" (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).

11 July 2007 at 12:45  
Blogger Steve Hayes said...

I think the spokesman for Archbishop Williams got it exactly right. It's a serious document. But some, apparently, prefer spin.

11 July 2007 at 13:23  
Blogger tim said...

Recusant--actually, we Protestants do not regard the early church fathers as authoritative. Often good Christian commentators, but sometimes wrong. Some Protestants regard them more highly than others. That said, your selection of quotations does not, for the most part, support the idea of papal succession.

The first one you quote is simply a translation of Matthew 16, without commentary. The next ones simply talk about Peter being first amongst the Apostles. You don't quote anything supporting succession of any kind from Peter until the mid-late 4th century. This supports what we Protestants see as the late development of the papacy; a man-made office that we're not divinely subject to. The Orthodox, who are more conservative in doctrine than the Roman Catholics, consider the RC church to have split with them, in part by this novel development.


All--
But to the topic at hand. In reading the Catholic blogs the last couple of days, I'm intrigued to see the responses ranging from, "Nothing to be offended by--it's just a restatement of what we've always said," to, "Yipee! Benedict is the Greatest. Pope. Ever!"

Since I'm not one who wants a merger of denominations (my idea of ecumenism is that the various churches can recognize each other--including in the Lord's Supper--and work together for the good of Christianity, without trying to make one another subject to themselves), I don't care if this "hurts ecumenism" in that institutional sense. But it is a reason for us to be offended, because it is an insult based on incorrect reasoning.

The Catholic claim that to be a church requires having (1) apostolic succession, (2) a sacramental priesthood, and (3) a magically-transformed eucharist, is false.

Because they define (1) by a very specific ritual formula not found in the Bible, and based purely at the episcopal level, they are imposing a man-made tradition on the church.

Because they hold (2) to mean really a sacrificing priesthood (that's part of why they rejected the apostolic succession of the C of E a century ago), they are in direct contradiction with the Book of Hebrews, which is quite explicit and runs on at length that there is no longer a sacrificing priesthood here on earth.

The literalism of their dogma on (3) is something that I'd find more relaxing to debate, because our interpretations of the Lord's Supper shouldn't matter so much. Except that they hold this to be central to the existence of the church. And they are exclusive and divisive at the Table with regards to us other Christians participating, in violation of Paul's criticism of cliquishness at the Table in 1 Corinthians.


I agree with the others above that the "ecumenical" overtures by Rome to the C of E and others are not two-way discussions made in good faith. They are only capable of being openings to our subjection to Rome. The other side dogmatically believes that it cannot err and that its head must be supreme over all Christians. And now it restates that we're not even part of Christ's church at all. So why continue these charades? Why does the Anglican church maintain high-level talks with them on doctrines and ecumenism?

So what's the point of this document? It's correct that it doesn't say anything really new (although it does seem to remove us from the status of not proper churches and downgrade us to not churches at all). If it's nothing new, why push it? It does serve to insult the other half of Christianity.

(And I wonder--will my church now be referred to by the RC as the "United Methodist Ecclesial Community"? Man, that's hilarious sounding.)

11 July 2007 at 15:51  
Anonymous diesirae said...

His Grace is fully aware that Rome's motto is Semper Eadem, and that therefore nothing has changed because it cannot.

It could and did. If any pope after Pius XII were to appear miraculously in the Middle Ages with a collection of his writings, suitably translated, he would have a simple choice: recant or be burnt at the stake. Vat2 was a freemasonic attempt to destroy the church, with half-witted or malicious liberals eager to collaborate. Religion thrives on hatred and conflict (vide its vigorous survival in Northern Ireland) and if Benedict is planning to reverse Vat2, the war with Islam will be a great help. Men (as I believe Pascal observed) never do evil so cheerfully as from religious conviction.

11 July 2007 at 16:13  
Blogger dizzyfatplonka said...

Now although I have backslidden somewhat since becoming what they term born again, from what I read of of Christs teachings in my bible reading moments, placing this pope guy on a pedastol with all the opulance trappings that the Vatican has is quite the opposite of Christs message in any sence.

11 July 2007 at 16:27  
Anonymous The recusant said...

Peter,

You seem to miss my point, yes at some point each of the above reiterated what is said in the Gospels, but why were they said and why emphasised when any Christian of that time would have been familiar with them. The reason is that they were in answer to various questions about the Popes Authority, yes even in the Early Church. You have to understand that it was not really until Sixtus the First (the sixth Pope) did the idea of adopting the Roman title Pontifex Maximus come into play, but remember the previous five popes were all martyred. so they didn’t really get an opportunity to wear the tiara on their head as they were busy loosing them.

During the first 3-400 years when the Church was finding its feet many challenges were made against Rome as the Primary See over Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, my reproduced quotes above were in refutation of these claims asserting that the Bishop of Rome did not have primacy. They in effect affirmed that the Bishop of Rome has Apostolic Succession; this concept is not a later invention however much that may be appealing. Consider if you were supporting the Papacy, what verse would you quote?, All the Apostles supported the primacy of Peter , so did St Paul and they also accepted the primacy of his immediate successors. (Calistus etc)We are continuing this Apostolic Tradition.

11 July 2007 at 17:02  
Anonymous John Fisher said...

Cranmer,

Reading between the lines, I think you're starting to develop an admiration for the RCC in general, and this pope in particular.

Would I be completely wrong in thinking that?

11 July 2007 at 17:21  
Anonymous Voyager said...

if Benedict is planning to reverse Vat2

Well Josef Ratzinger was a delegate at Vat2....

11 July 2007 at 17:27  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Of course he went as theological authority with Cardinal Josef Frings of Cologne not to be confused with Torsten Frings who plays for Werder Bremen

11 July 2007 at 17:40  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr John Fisher,

You may very well think that.

His Grace could not possibly comment.

11 July 2007 at 18:21  
Anonymous Fred said...

So what if one man, this pope character, believes that only members of his gang are Christians. I would prefer that the one true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob made the decision about who are members of His Kingdom.

All the things that Protestants despise about the RCs (wealth, top down governance, lack of belief in God's Word, invention of non-scriptural beliefs, etc) are all the direct consequence of incorporating the worship of Mithra into the teachings of a body that was rather flabby round its beliefs. I don't want to be associated with that lot, and am heartened that they don't want me.

Google for Mithra or Mithras if you want to know more of what Constantine let in, and what Luther had to show as being false.

11 July 2007 at 22:32  
Anonymous Moomintroll said...

As an Englishman and member of the Church of England, my attitude to the Church of Rome is the same as my attitude to continental Europe, namely that I want friendship but not union. I am prepared to accept that they do not accept me as part of the true Church, just as I hope that they will accept that I have problems with the Roman church, but I see no reason why it should lead to enmity or intolerance. Free debate among those of differing opinions is how humanity progresses, like Cardinal Newman's disputes with the Anglican theologian Kingsley.
The whole issue reminds me of the Dave Allan joke that in Heaven the Roman Catholics are surrounded by a high wall so that they can believe that they are the only ones there.

12 July 2007 at 08:01  
Anonymous The recusant said...

Fred compare your post with Moomintroll, one is rational the other bordering on psychosis, one respectful the other contemptuous, one intelligent the other a thinly disguised rant. Who then would any reasonable person wish to converse? Which more closely displays the requisite erudite intelligence this august blog deserves? Really, shouldn’t you be away reading the Da Vinci Code or something?

12 July 2007 at 09:58  
Anonymous diesirae said...

@voyager -- so what? He made a mistake and has realized this himself.

12 July 2007 at 15:44  
Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Consider if you were supporting the Papacy, what verse would you quote?

Interesting question! Perhaps "Woe is me!", or at least "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner". For if I were supporting the Papacy and then turned to the Bible, I would rather quickly realise my error.

Meanwhile, Recusant, what is it that makes Benedict the "infallible" successor of St Peter, and not me, who at least share his name, or His Grace, who proved himself worthy of such an honour?

12 July 2007 at 15:53  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

The Popes, or Bishops of Rome were senior to the other bishops simply because they occupied the See of St Peter, the senior Apostle, not because they were thought to have "inherited" any special Petrine graces. When the papacy (as the Orthodox see it) became schismatic, the seniority passed to Constantinople. If we wish to find out what the seniority of Rome meant in the early Church we ought perhaps to look at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople today. The Papacy of the last millennium or so is very different from what had gone before. (It is interesting to note that the Patriarchate of Moscow, like that of Rome in Imperial days, has been showing strongly Caesaro-Papist tendencies, i.e. been getting above itself.)

12 July 2007 at 17:14  
Anonymous Voyager said...

@voyager -- so what? He made a mistake and has realized this himself.

I don't know...Torsten is a very good player and a mainstay of the Bundes XI and if he hadn't been suspended Germany might have made the World Cup Final....

12 July 2007 at 17:17  
Anonymous fred said...

The recusant wrote:... one respectful, the other contemptuous

Recusant, as the self styled "Substitute for Christ" has just declared his contempt for Protestant Christianity, surely you can understand that there is no further room for dialogue. It is the Roman's "Holy Father" who has just closed the door to any dialogue that does not have the predetermined outcome of a return to Rome on Rome's terms.

12 July 2007 at 18:54  
Anonymous The recusant said...

Peter.
Unfortunately Peter you may have noticed that no Pope has been called Peter since The Rock, sorry. But it’s a fair question I can’t better the answer here


Little Black Sambo
The Bishop of Rome was not senior because he simply occupied the See of St Peter, the senior Apostle It was because the Church was initially instituted in Rome by St Peter and St Paul; both Apostles based themselves in and were martyred in Rome. St Paul and St Peter each individually founded or supported all the other embryonic Churches as they developed but that support came from Rome and only in Rome did they both come together and remain.

The other Patriarchs all accepted (yes they did) the authority of the successive Bishops of Rome as is demonstrated by the many letters and supplications from the other Patriarchs in the first 800 years or so, indeed a Patriarch could not be installed in one of the other churches without the approval of Rome. Schism and heresies were all submitted to Rome for correction as it was known that the successors of Peter were the most orthodox and consistent in maintaining the deposit of faith (as they are today).

There was an ever present tussle between the Emperor of Constantinople and the Pope on who had the senior claim to loyalty the temporal or spiritual, this argument periodically resurfaced until the Lombard’s and eventually the Normans reduced the influence of Constantinople and Ravenna and the west, the Muslims did the rest.

Fred,
Watch out for Albino monks.

12 July 2007 at 21:09  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Recusant.
We do not disagree, I think. The Bp of Rome was senior (nd accepted as such by all the other Patriarchs) because he occupied the See of Peter, and THAT was senior because Peter was the senior Apostle. But (according to the Orthodox) Rome lost its seniority because it exceeded its (rightful) claim to precedence by insisting on the obedience of the other bishops.
Having been conservative & ultra-orthodox when the Eastern Church was in theological ferment, Rome (from the Orthodox point of view) made innovations in doctrine and practice. Ultra-conservatism became the mark of the Orthodox, rather than of Rome, and so it has persisted till today.
Reunion with the East was the first preoccupation of the last Pope & continues to be that of the present Pope. What splinter bodies like the C of E do will be of secondary or tertiary importance.

12 July 2007 at 23:40  
Anonymous athanasius said...

The CofE (Ecclesial Communion of England? ECofE?) has a much deeper problem: the media in the UK think that the Pope is Head of the Christian Church, mainly through ignorance and infantilism where religion is concerned. If the leadership of the (in Catholic terms) incurably wet Catholic Church in England and Wales is replaced by a less ecumenically-minded hierarchy, and one that is prepared to speak out for what it believes, the CofE will decline very rapidly in the consciousness of those not members of a non-Catholic Church.

13 July 2007 at 19:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Originally attempted to post 11 July

NB If I am attributing toHis Grace views which actually belong to guest-bloggers on his site, I then retract my accusation of bigotry and apologise to him.

Your Grace,

I attempted to reply to yr earlier comments on my first post, but for some reason the long response was not picked up.

With today's news, things have obviously developed.

However, just to say re 'bigotry', I do not think you are bigoted for having an uncompromising view. What I meant was, as OED defines it, you are bigoted as I see it because you are 'unreasonably prejudiced and intolerant'. Perfectly OK to base yr intolerance on reason, but I don't think there is convincing evidence for the Vatican plottng to use the EU as a machine for the re-establishment of Catholic Christendom (no doubt one or two cardinals may want that, but Judas was an Apostle after all). After all, HH has spoken against it.

But other point: re the prayers in the old missal for the conversion of the Jews (a)perfidaeis can mean literally 'faithless' i.e. without [the Catholic] faith]; admittedly the other meaning of 'treacherous' is not easily divorceable. I do not like this language; neither did Blessed Pope John XXIII - hence his removal of it (PS he also saved many Jewish lives as Apostolic nuncio in Turkey WW2 &c. He issued false baptismal certificates. See http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/?en/press/pope-john-xxiii-jews.1709.htm ). On even the much-maligned Pius XII see http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/piusdef.html - which latter also gives a case against.
b)There are also prayers in the old rite missal for 'heretics' (such as your Grace )and 'heathens', which of course includes the Muslims (yr Grace objected that they were not covered); so the Good Friday collects only follow the pattern set by Our Lord Himself, of first preaching to His own people and then passing His mission on to the Apostles to convert the gentiles.

So if it is 'bigoted' as you said, to pray specially for the conversion of the Jews, then so was Our Lord, and so clearly, was St Paul ( I am sure you will know the references).

As for back-pedalling on Vatican 2, if you read the documents carefully, while they credit the non-Catholic churches with 'perhaps very many of the most significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church herself' and say that 'men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptised are put in some, though imperfect, communion wih the Catholic Church' & 'all who have been justified by faith in baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christian and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Cartholic Church.' (Unitatis Redingratio) - although this is said, there is also a statement which will stick in His Grace's throat: 'It follows that the separated Churches and communities, though we believe that they suffer from the defects already mentioned,have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church.'

Also, yr Grace said I had not answered you because I could not. That was jumping to conclusions (as in bigotry?). Actually I was just too busy. I will always attempt to answer eventually, and I hope if Yr Grace gets the better of me, have the grace to concede you a point. I do not see this debate as Prime Minister's Questions, but as an honest attempt to get at the truth.

I don't know if Yr Grace has read the whole document - I haven't yet - misreported today (e.g. Telegraph 'Pope says non-Catholics 'defective'); clearly if one chooses to belong to one denomination rather than another, one makes that choice on grounds that it is closer to one's understanding of the Gospel than the alternatives, hence relatively those alternatives are 'defective'. But I know HH has gone a little further than that. Yet if, for the sake of argument, the Pope's beliefs happened to be true, and he really were the Vicar of Christ, then surely his Grace wd hypothetically agree that he had a duty to ponitificate on them, even if it upset people?

Of course Christians should be charitable. What we have to reckon up is: which is more charitable - pretending we all agree on everything or challenging each other with what we believe to be the truth?

You see, I know this will sound nauseating to you, but because he loves all of humanity, the Pope wants everyone to have 'the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church.'

If a father sees his children eating dry crusts when he has a feast prepared for them, he would be unkind not to point it out.

Trouble with trying deal with all this on a blog-post is that 'Catholicism is not a matter that can be taken up in a tea-cup' (Newman) and blogs are rather tea-cuppish, if you see what I mean.

'Catholicus'

16 July 2007 at 20:02  

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